June 10, 2020
A message from David Kuehn, Executive Director of Cotuit Center for the Arts.
Throughout history the Arts have played an important role in healing, reflecting, challenging and evolving humankind. Cotuit Center for the Arts stands in solidarity with all people who are oppressed or suffer injustice.
As executive director of a community based cultural institution I take the responsibility of speaking on behalf of thousands of people - our board, staff, volunteers, patrons, members, teachers, donors, students, artists - very seriously. Fifteen days ago the world witnessed the murder of George Floyd. Since that time I have struggled mightily to craft a public statement on behalf of the organization. It’s not difficult to say we support the #blacklivesmatter movement. We do. It’s not difficult to say we stand in solidarity with peaceful protesters around the world marching for racial justice. We do. It’s not difficult to say that as an organization we want to do better. We do.
Yet I struggle. I struggle because I am a white ally and I need time to listen. I struggle because I’m not comfortable putting forth platitudes without plans. At the same time I agree with those who say silence equals consent.
We stand in solidarity. We want to be better. We need to listen.
How we improve comes next. As the leader of this institution I vow to examine where we are falling short. What tools we need for continuous improvement. Most importantly I commit to listening. To quote Courtney Ariel from her 2017 article For Our White Friends Desiring to be Allies, “...it will be good to give the microphone to someone else who is living a different experience than your own.”
I believe the country has an opportunity for meaningful positive change and I look forward to the community that is Cotuit Center for the Arts participating as we learn and grow.
Executive Director, Cotuit Center for the Arts